What the Tech? App of the Day: Autio

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(ABC 6 News) – Like many of you, whenever my family hits the highways for a vacation road trip, we listen to podcasts, music, and sometimes audiobooks. The kids generally have their own music and listen to their favorite playlists on Spotify and Amazon Music.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but I sometimes miss talking about things we see along the route. Trust me, everyone is sick of me pointing out “fun facts” about what we’re driving through.

Actor Kevin Costner and a team of storytellers developed an app that tells stories of the area around you. Autio is all about the journey. As you drive along, the app pops up bite-sized stories of the area you are in and attractions near you. You’ll still get to listen to your music, podcasts, or whatever. Still, anytime you get close to an interesting story, Autio sends a notification that a story about that area is available.

I took it for a test drive in the Nashville, Tennessee area and received notifications that I was approaching a place where Flatt & Scruggs first got a record deal. A little way down the road I got a notification that we were about to pass an area that suffered the worst fire in Nashville history.

Costner and developers enlisted voice actors and celebrities to narrate each story that runs 2-4 minutes. No surprise that Costner narrates many stories in the Old West. A drive through Wyoming and Montana found stories told by Costner of Native Americans and cowboys. Stories you’d never discover while on the road.

Sometimes it’s history, sometimes it points out an interesting landmark. On a drive through Southwest Florida, there’s a research center that has gathered information about the legend of the Skunk Ape. And it’s fascinating.

Autio has over 100 stories in each state. You can also look down the road to find other interesting stories you can save for later. It’s a tour guide for the open road. The Autio app is available only for iPhones. 5 stories are free. It’s $30 for a month, or $36 for a full year of road trip stories.